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Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United Statesmarker population. They are most concentrated in Hawaiimarker, Alaskamarker and the West Coast, specifically Californiamarker, although they are to be found in other US States as well.


In the 2000–2010 U.S. Census the term "'Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander' refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Tonga, Samoa or other Pacific Islands. ... They are of Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian cultural backgrounds." The US Census counts Indigenous Australians and Maori, the natives of New Zealandmarker, as part of the Pacific Islander race.

This includes Indigenous Australians, Polynesians, Melanesians and Micronesians.


In politics

Mufi Hannemann is the current mayor of Honolulumarker. Mufi Hanneman is a German and Samoan American who was originally a history teacher. He became mayor of Honolulu in January 2, 2005 and is still serving his term.


Pacific Islander Americans have media portrayal mostly as professional wrestlers, but are also portrayed as regular people too. Dwayne Johnson, also known as "The Rock", with a Samoan mother and a Black Canadian father, has been the most notable Pacific Islander American professional wrestler, branching out into movies like the The Scorpion King. Other Pacific Islander American professional wrestlers include Samoa Joe, Solofa Fatu and the late Rodney Anoa'i, better known as "Yokozuna"Anoa'i family. Lilo Pelekai and Nani Pelekai are Native Hawaiian Americans in the Disney show called "Lilo & Stitch". Pacific Islander Americans portrayed two major supporting characters on the CBS television series Hawaii Five-O—Native Hawaiian Zulu as Kono Kalakaua and Samoan American Al Harrington as Det. Ben Kokua. Also, Hawaiian-American Jason Momoa plays Ronon Dex on the popular science-fiction TV show Stargate Atlantis.

Vili Fualaau is a Samoan-American who made headlines with his controversial relationship with Mary Kay Letourneau.

Taylor Vaifanua (from Hurricane, Utahmarker) is a Samoan-American high school student/singer who made to the Top 36 of the reality TV show American Idol.

The most famous stage character is Bloody Mary of the South Pacific musical and movie. She is a souvenir trader to US Sailors stationed in the Pacific Theater of WWII. Though originally cast as Juanita Hall, an African American, she is often also cast as an Asian or Pacific Islander American in newer local productions.


Pacific Islander Americans are well represented in American football: Peter Tuipulotu, Reno Mahe, Vai Sikahema, Nuu Faaola, Jesse Sapolu, Troy Polamalu,Pisa Tinoisamoa, Maake Kemoeatu, Mosi Tatupu and his son Lofa, Manu Tuiasosopo and his sons Marques and Zach, and Junior Seau are current or former professional football players. Ken Niumatalolo, a Samoan American who was named after the 2007 regular season as the new head coach of Navy, is believed to be the first Pacific Islander American to head a major college program.

Many Pacific Islander Americans also play the most popular sport of their homeland, rugby, and have a strong influence in US rugby, with many going on to represent the USA, including Salesi Sika, David Niu, Vahafolau Esikia, Fifita Mounga, Olo Fifita, Thretton Palamo (the youngest player ever in the Rugby World Cup), Albert Tuipolotu, and Vaea Anitoni (the all-time leader in tries for the USA national team).

Pacific Islanders are also represented in sumo wrestling. Akebono Taro is a famous sumo-wrestling Yokozuna of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

Diving great Greg Louganis, although often identified with his adoptive Greek-American heritage, is of Samoan and Swedish ancestry.


Ancestries]] in the 2000 US Census
Ancestry 1990 1990% of US population 2000 2000% of US population Percent change from 1990 to 2000
Chamorro negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 177,000 0.06% negligible (no data)
Polynesian negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 616,162 0.2% negligible (no data)
TOTAL negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 793,162 0.3% negligible (no data)

Polynesian Americans

Polynesian Americans are Americans of Polynesian descent.

Large subcategories of Polynesian Americans include Native Hawaiians and Samoan Americans. In addition there are smaller communities of Tongan Americans (link: Culture and diaspora of Tonga ) and Maori Americans.


Ancestries]] in the 2000 US Census
Ancestry 1990 1990% of US population 2000 2000% of US population Percent change from 1990 to 2000
Native Hawaiian negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 401,162 0.13% negligible (no data)
Samoan negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 215,000 0.07% negligible (no data)
TOTAL negligible (no data) negligible (no data) 616,162 0.2% negligible (no data)

Samoan Americans

A Samoan American is an American who is of ethnic Samoan descent and may be from either the independent nation Samoamarker or the American territorymarker of American Samoamarker. Samoan American is a subcategory of Polynesian American. About 65,000 people live on American Samoa, while the US census in 2000 and 2008 has found 4 times the number of Samoan Americans live in the mainland USA.

California has the most Samoans, concentrations live in Los Angelesmarker, Carsonmarker, Cerritosmarker, Long Beachmarker, Oceansidemarker, San Josemarker, San Franciscomarker and Uplandmarker. In other states, many Samoans live in Las Vegasmarker, Salt Lake Citymarker, Portland marker, Seattlemarker, Phoenixmarker, Houstonmarker, Kansas Citymarker, Anchorage, Alaskamarker, and in the state of Hawaiimarker.

Since the end of World War II, persons born in American Samoa are United States national, but not United States citizens. (This is the only circumstance under which an individual would be one and not the other.) For this reason, Samoans can move to Hawaii or the mainland United States and obtain citizenship comparatively easily. Like Hawaiian Americans, the Samoans arrived in the mainland in the 20th century as agricultural laborers and factory workers.


As a result of the rise of Samoan communities in highly concentrated hip hop areas such as Los Angeles and Oakland, Californiamarker; American Samoans have built up a reputation for themselves of being highly skilled dancers and athletes. This stereotyping based on physicality put pressure on Samoan communities in the United States because of nervous law enforcement officials who would frequently assault the Samoan men and women. Despite this racial stereotyping, dance was a way through which young Samoans could gain respect and earn social status. It acted as a diasporic currency where dance styles and mastery of hip hop breakdancing skills of locking, and popping signified a connection of this community which was assumed to be 'foreign' with its fellow Americans.

While women were mostly restrained from their expression of hip hop dance, many Samoan men became professional dancers and entered the American music industry. Suga Pop, and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. are examples of this.The involvement of Samoans in street dance and hip hop music in America has impacted the Samoan cultural production in other places where Samoans have settled. A transmission of culture between the American Samoan community and its Pacific origin (i.e New Zealandmarker, Hawaiimarker) took place. This resulted in a mimicking of not only music and dance styles but of the fashion of American hip hop as well. Samoan dance crews copied the popping and locking dance forms while wearing Adidas track suits- a style very commonly associated with Queensmarker based hip hop group Run DMC. As a result of the American Samoan community's rising recognition, performers such as Snoop Dogg and Lord Tariq have collaborated with various American-based Samoan and Pacific artists.

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